Circus Monkeys

Nie moj cyrk, Nie moje malpy.

I don't speak Polish, but I'm a sucker for a good Polish proverb. I ran this one through the Google® Translator and got this: "Not my circus, not my monkey."

So, I'm guessing the take-away in this proverb is: sometimes it's just not my problem. Or maybe the wisdom here is to quit trying to fix everything for everybody; accept your boundaries and limitations.

You have to be careful here though. You could easily become like one of those ugly, narcissistic characters in the Good Samaritan story, or one of those who think "denial is just a river in Egypt."

I bet I could print up a bunch of t-shirts with the "Not My Circus, Not My Monkey" proverb and sell them like hotcakes. I'll admit it--sometimes, too many times, I might as well be wearing one, because that's my attitude sometimes; too many times.

You've seen it, right? It looks kind of like this:

"It's their mess, let them clean it up."
"She made her bed, she can lie in it."
"I've got to look out for Number One."

I heard a guy say this one time and I wanted to reply, "You'd better look out for Number Two too, because if you step in it you're going to spell like, well, $#1T whether your dog's the one who dropped it or not.

Billy Joel wrote a song back in the 80s (yes, it was a low decade for music) where the lyrics were a litany of the famous, the infamous, and a sample of mankind's collective messes and milestones through the years. The chorus (and title) of the song is the equivalent of "not my circus, not my monkey".

It goes like this:

We Didn't Start The Fire

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray,
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio,
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television,
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe,

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning

Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom,
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye,
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen,
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye,

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev,
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc,
Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron,
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock,
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team,
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland,
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev,
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez,

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac,
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai,
Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball,
Starkweather, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide,

Buddy Holly, Ben-Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia,
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go,
U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy,
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo,

Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land,
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion,
Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania,
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson,

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician Sex,
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say,

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again,
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock,
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline,
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan,
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide,
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz,
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law,
Rock and Roller Cola wars, I can't take it anymore.

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on and on and on and on
And on and on and on and on...

Maybe this is our Circus and these are our Monkeys